Early maize silage analyses results indicate varied quality, particularly when it comes to starch levels. So producers must test forage stocks and adequately balance rations to maximise cow health and productivity.
That’s the message from Quality Liquid Feeds’ Rob Fowkes, who says that he is witnessing two main scenarios across the herds that he supports – maize silages with either low or high starch levels.
“There are health and productivity implications associated with both of these silages – either ruminal acidosis from feeding too much starch, or reduced productivity due to poor rumen function from reduced levels,” he warns.
“So it’s critical that producers analyse maize silage to help them understand exactly what they’re working with. Rations can then be accurately balanced to drive cow health and productivity, while maximising the value of home-grown forages.”
For those with lower levels of starch, Mr Fowkes recommends considering adding extra cereals to the ration. “Imported whole maize is a good option because it’s competitively priced due to the high UK wheat price.
“Another option to balance out low starch levels is to include a source of sugar in the diet. Adding molasses-based product, provides an economical source of carbohydrate.
“Including sugars, at a rate of between 5% and 7% of the ration, improves overall efficiency, rumen function, and productivity.”